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Nov 28

Native Christmas tree event and tree recycling collections planned in JCPRD parks

Posted on November 28, 2018 at 1:24 PM by Becky Burnside

Whether you need a low-cost native Christmas tree, or a place to dispose of a natural holiday tree after the holidays, JCPRD has you covered!
                    
On Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mildale Farm will serve as the metro area’s only 2018 site for Kansas City WildLands’ 18th annual Red Cedar Christmas Tree Day. After the holidays, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, four JCPRD parks, including a location in the newly-opened Big Bull Creek Park in southwest Johnson County,  will serve as free collection sites for natural tree recycling.

This is the fifth consecutive year the Red Cedar Christmas Tree Day event has taken place at the Mildale Farm site. A minimum donation of $15 is suggested for the trees, which have a range of shapes and sizes from “Charlie Brown specials” to behemoths suitable for a mayor’s Christmas tree. Proceeds from this event will be used to benefit future conservation efforts throughout the Greater Kansas City Region. When you take home a native cedar tree, you’ll make your house smell great, and you’ll be helping restore wild places to their original health.

As part of the Dec. 1 event, haywagons will take participants to the tree site and back to their cars. Those who would like to participate should bring hand saws, rope, sturdy boots, and work gloves. Chainsaws and axes are not permitted. KC WildLands volunteers will be on hand to assist with loading trees. For those who would like to cut their own tree, volunteers will point out trees which can be cut. A fire, hot cider, and cookies to help warm up participants will also be available.

Removal of eastern red cedar trees is part of a prairie restoration project at the site. This effort is designed to remove a native species considered invasive in prairies and old fields. In time, the cedars’ sheer numbers and effects of their shading eliminate sun-loving prairie flora. In the past, naturally-occurring prairie wildfires kept this species in check, but modern fire suppression practices have allowed cedars to spread.

While eastern red cedars were used commonly by early pioneers as Christmas trees, those interested in participating  should be aware this variety does not have the typical needle of the Scotch and white pines now predominantly used as Christmas trees. This gives the eastern red cedar a “leafier” appearance.

For more information or to volunteer at this event, contact Linda Lehrbaum at (816) 561-1061 ext. 116 or linda@bridgingthegap.org, or visit the group’s website at www.kcwildlands.org.

Mildale Farm is owned and operated by JCPRD, which is a charter member of Kansas City WildLands, a conservation coalition initiated in 2001. The Mildale site, which is usually accessible only by reservation, is one of the region’s premier venues for weddings, reunions, retreats and other special occasions.

Mildale Farm is located at 35250 W. 199th St. From the north, take Interstate 35 south to Exit 205, Homestead Lane. Turn right onto Homestead Lane. Turn left on 199th and follow to Mildale Farm, which will be on your right. From the south, take Interstate 35 north to Exit 205, Homestead Lane. Turn left onto Homestead Lane. Turn left on 199th and follow to Mildale Farm, which will be on your right.

The newest holiday tree collection site is located at 20425 Sunflower Road in Edgerton in the Sunflower access point of the new Big Bull Creek Park, which opened in late September. This location also has a nature-themed playground, a three-quarter-mile paved loop trail, a prairie restoration area, and restrooms. Other tree collection sites are: the parking lot at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park, with a separate entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, the Heritage Park Marina parking lot, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe, and the north side of the parking lot at the marina at Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe. 

Trees will be collected during regular winter park hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., except at Shawnee Mission Park, which opens at 6 a.m. in the winter. 

There is no charge for the disposal of trees, and this program is open to anyone regardless of residency. For additional information, call Visitor Services at Shawnee Mission Park at (913) 888-4713. No yard waste will be accepted - only Christmas trees. Wrappers should be removed from the discarded trees as well as any remaining decorations; particularly “icicles” and decorations made from Mylar, shiny plastic, or aluminum.

In 2018, between 4,000 and 5,000 trees were "recycled." Some of the trees are mulched for use on trails and in landscaping while others are used to improve fish habitat in district lakes.